Thursday, October 28, 2010

Soon - Joe Lapaglia


Joe Lapaglia
Moodgadget Records.

SCQ Rating: 67%

Joe Lapaglia’s hometown of Niagara Falls, NY, has always rung false to me as a Canadian whose hometown exists twenty-minutes shy of Niagara Falls, Ontario. That two distinct countries share the world-wonder made sense, given the Falls’ proximity to the border, but driving over a bridge from one Niagara Falls to another – essentially leaving a country and yet not the city’s namesake – became a source of childhood confusion. Why have two entities right next to each other that pride themselves on the exact same thing? In short: because they still feel and look different. Whereas Canada’s half of the Falls became overrun with tacky sideshows and tourist-traps, the American side subsists on a quieter, suburban backdrop.

Joe Lapaglia exists on a similar parallel with Ben Chasny, also known as Six Organs of Admittance, in that both acts circle the same well of inspiration. Longform guitar jams weave delicately over coarse, sometimes abrupt, collages of noise and ambience while Lapaglia rasps in a softer, confident tone. ‘Days You’ve Left’ effectively encapsulates this streamlined take on Chasny’s aura, as fluently plucked acoustic-strings form a backbone of autumnal regret that eventually turns into a distortion-blurred wrath. These aurally abusive outbursts typically show up unannounced, preceding both the otherwise lovely ‘Soon Will Come’ and ‘Here, We Will Bury Our Memories’ without really playing into either song’s construction. To redeem these thrashing moments of disconnect, ‘In the Wake’ ties the sonic fury into its mood, allowing the electric to latch onto a momentum already worked-up via Lapaglia’s trusted acoustic. Even when faced with the psyched-out lead guitar of ‘Beyond the Edges’, no foul-play exists in Soon’s evocation of Six Organs of Admittance. Lapaglia avoids venturing into some of Chasny’s international influences and, besides, songs like ‘Somewhere, Tennessee’ display a soothing, textural focus that would disagree with Chasny’s malevolent side. If Lapaglia’s compositional efforts are purposefully so leveled, it would benefit this hour-length record to feature an occasional songwriting curveball for narrative’s sake. With each track so meditative and static, Soon illustrates a forested plateau lacking either an origin or exit sign.

Despite his rock-oriented set-up, Joe Lapaglia belongs on Moodgadget because, even without a heavy dependence on electronics, his music possesses that hypnotic quality the New York-slash-Michigan label is respected for. Soon proves that there’s no shortage of room left to wade in today’s brooding psych-folk well; if you’re a fan of what’s come before, don’t hesitate to cross this bridge.

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